In just six days, Dean Crompton’s new security camera has had a workout.
The Edmonton man has watched a string of suspicious characters walk down his alley, peer into yards and look into his vehicle. One of those people was even carrying an empty bag.
Then on Monday morning at about 9 a.m., the cameras caught something even more brazen.
A man approached two vehicles. He tried the handle on a pickup truck but found the vehicle locked. He turned and tried to open an SUV. It was open and he got in.
Moments later, Crompton left his house and headed to the SUV. He didn’t initially see anything wrong because the windows were frosted over.
“I went to open the door and someone pulled it shut on me,” said Crompton. “So I open the door and there was a guy sitting there with all my stuff, my sunglasses, all my belongings were all over the car. And he’s just looking at me.”
Crompton didn’t back away. He screamed and swore at the would-be thief. He said he eventually pinned the man on the ground but later let him go.
Watch below: A startling video has emerged of an Edmonton man confronting a suspect trying to steal from his car. As Fletcher Kent reports, it points to a growing problem in Alberta’s capital.
While the timing of this attempted theft proved dramatic, Crompton said he’s surprised by how common the problem is.
He has lived in his house for a little over a month. His new neighbours have warned him about people wandering through the alley.
Ten days ago, the battery from his truck was stolen.
Watch below: Crompton captures video of a man wandering the alley carrying a bag
Police statistics show theft from vehicles is a growing problem all over Edmonton.
In 2012, there were 6,311 reports of someone stealing something from a vehicle. That number shot up to 10,863 in 2016.
Fourth-quarter statistics from 2017 are not yet tabulated but Edmonton is on pace to have seen 10,530 thefts from vehicles last year. That’s a 71 per cent increase since 2012.
Police have regularly warned drivers to remove all valuables from their vehicles and keep their doors locked.
Crompton said he usually locks his doors. This was an exception and it taught him a lesson.
“Don’t leave anything in there that you like because someone is looking for it.”
Watch below: What is the best way to combat thefts from vehicles? Edmonton police Staff Sgt. David Goodkey weighs in.